Thursday, November 01, 2012

The King's Table

I was thinking about the distinction between the traditional King's Table and the ideal of the Round Table at the Court of Camelot. At the traditional medieval table, the sovereign (whether King in the royal court, or local lord in a local court) sat at the head, and people were seated closer to or further away depending on their level of power and influence. The Round Table exemplified the ideal of equality: there was no "head" of the table to sit at, so all who sat at it sat as equals... even the King, himself.

The Federal Reserve system is interesting in that is is also like a long rectangular table, but it can be difficult, for those who know how it works, to distinguish which end of the table is the "head". For at one side of the table (the Federal Open Markets Committee) sits the Chairman of the Board of Governors, ostensibly the head of the most numerous component of the FOMC: the seven members of the Board of Governors. The second component of the FOMC is five Presidents of the twelve Federal Reserve Banks, four of which serve in rotation, one of which is a permanent member, and therefore the other potential "head" of the FOMC: The President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

I'm not sure if there's any point to this rambling.